Who has tight hamstrings? Well, almost everyone has tight hamstrings. This is one of the most common muscle groups with muscle tightness. The hamstrings help us extend our hip when walking, helps us bend our knee and helps to tuck our pelvis under (which I hate seeing anyone do). This is why sitting for long periods at a time is so bad. When sitting your hip is closed down (shortened), your knee is bent (flexed) and most people sit with their body slumped (pelvis tucked under). This positions cause the hamstrings to be short, tight and even weak. Day after day…year after year…at the job…adds up to back problems, knee problems, adult scoliosis, neck problems and more.
First of all, are your hamstrings really the problem?
This may seem silly or obvious, but just because you can’t touch your toes doesn’t necessarily mean your hamstrings are to blame for your limited range of motion. There can be quite a few structures in your “posterior chain” that are limiting your movement (especially if you have a job that requires you to sit or drive for long periods of time).
For example, your calves (gastrocnemius muscles) cross the knee joint, so restrictions there can make keeping your knees straight harder than it should be.
Also, the connections from your deep hip muscles (glutes, piriformis, gemelli, etc.) can affect the ease in which your pelvis tilts, thus affecting how you bend forward at the hip.
Another factor could be the tightness of the fascial interconnections between your muscle groups (picture this as your muscles being “stuck together,” and thus they don’t slide freely beside each other).
Then there’s joint restrictions at your lower back and pelvis, which can cause increased tension throughout your hips and legs. With these, people often feel much more freedom in their motion after doing exercises that limber up the spine (without stretching their legs much at all).
Or it could be a combination of all of the above, which is definitely common with flexibility issues.
So, yes your hamstrings may be tight, but that might just be a small part of the problem (an outward symptom) and you’d want to address all of these issues first.
What to do about this?
First…get assessed. That’s what I do. How well do you Doris flex? Can you hinge your hip? Do you over pronate? Is your pelvis tucked? What is your head position? Can you turn your head side to side or do you have to turn your body? You need to know some of your habits in order to start corrections.
Second…Learn how to breathe properly. Oxygen is so beneficial for the body…yet so many people breathe so shallow. Oxygen heals tissue and helps regenerate cells…and it just makes you feel better!
Third…pick one or two areas in the body to work on…get them working better. We can’t improve everything at once! It takes time. Some things improve quickly while others take more focus.
Most importantly…learn FOUNDATION TRAINING! I can not tell you how good FT is for the body…the whole body. FOUNDATION TRAINING will turn on so many muscles that have become weak and tight because of lack of use or improper use. It’s 2016…make a change. Stop popping a pill every time you hurt. Don’t go to the ER because you have terrible back pain…they can not fix it!
Anyone and everyone can benefit from FOUNDATION TRAINING! It’s good stuff!